The Detroit Tigers who have stated they had no interest, in bringing back Valverde have signed him to a minor league contract. The contract stipulates that Valverde must be in the majors by May 5. I was surprised that the Tigers let Valverde walk, even though he had an atrocious postseason. Onc concern about Valverde is that his strikeouts per 9 innings have dropped each year since the 2006 season. when he struck out 12.6 batters per 9 innings. The following strikeout numbers per 9 innings show how those numbers have steadily declined: 2006: 12.6 2007: 10.9 2008: 10.4 2009: 9.3 2010: 9.0 2011: 8.6 2012: 6.3 Valverde’s strikeouts totaled 69 in 72 innings in 2011, then tanked to 48 in 68 innings in 2012. That is 21 less strikeouts in only three less innings pitched in 2012.
Trout, Pujols and Hamilton Continue to Slump
Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are a combined 6-38, after losing to the Angels by a 5-4 score this afternoon in Cincinnati. Hamilton made the final out, when he weakly waved at a pitch from Aroldis Chapman. The Angels are 1-2 after today’s game, but their pitchers are holding batters to a .155 batting average, which is only behind the Indians in the AL who are at .138…. Carlos Marmol once again took the Cubs to the brink of disaster, but got the save in a 3-2 win by the Cubs over the Pirates. Starter Travis Wood and three relievers had allowed only one hit in eight innings. Then Marmol made things interesting in the ninth by allowing Starling Marte to start the ninth with a single. Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez follow with two run scoring singles making the score 3-2. Marmol struck out Pedro Alvarez for the first out, then induced Neil Walker to hit into a game ending double play. Marmol ended the game with a team high 20.25 ERA and has allowed opposing batters to hit .571 against him. Kyugi Fujikawa, Hector Rondon, Hisanori Takahashi, James Russell and Shawn Camp have not allowed a run in a combined 4.2 innings.
Marmol has allowed 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks and a hit batsman in 1.1 innings. Cubs are 5th in ERA in the NL with a 2.08 mark, but are 30th in MLB in hitting with a .121 average. The Cubs starting rotation has pitched three good games in a row with Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood allowing no runs in their games, while Edwin Jackson pitched fairly well but took the loss yesterday. Will be interesting to see how Scott Feldman fares against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, as the Cubs get into the back-end of their rotation.
Royals defeated the White Sox 3-1 as Jeremy Guthrie bested Gavin Floyd, as the Royals salvaged a game, after losing the first two games. Floyd didn’t pitch badly, allowing only 2 earned runs in 6 innings, but the offense took the day off as the White Sox struck out 12 times in the contest. Adam Dunn struck out three times, while Dayan Viciedo struck out four times. The bright spot for the White Sox was that Gordon Beckham was 4-4 and raised his average to .556, while Tyler Flowers was 1-1 and is now hitting .571. Jose Quintana will face the power laden Seattle Mariners tomorrow and their league leading home run hitter Michael Morse with 4 home runs, after leading spring training with 9 home runs.